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Monday, September 25, 2006

Mark 9:30-37 (Sermon for the week of September 24th)

Mk 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”


The sermon for this week will consist of information pertaining to the the reading this week that contains a good amount of verse in need of explaining. Please note that with the direction of the Holy Spirit, Our Lord may teach us the meaning behind His words in this short reading from the Gospel according to Mark. I will also draw from historical facts, biblical study, and will tell you when I am presenting my opinion.

First, I want to point out that this is the second of three times in the Gospel according to Mark that Jesus has foreshadowed what will happen to Him in the future in great detail.

Jesus (THE SON OF MAN) will be:

The other two times the crucifixion events are mentioned is in Mark 8:31 and 10:33-34.

There are two important subjects that I need to discuss in this section from the reading. Notice that again, Jesus refers to Himself as "The Son of Man". Some argue that the name Jesus calls Himself here is a contradiction and He never said that He was the Son of God or the Creator...(The I AM in the burning bush who spoke to Moses). This is not the case. The Jews know very well that the Messiah, the "I AM" from the burning bush will come to earth as the Son of Man.
Why? Those of us NOT accustomed to Jewish tradition and teaching and especially Western culture...freely use the word "GOD". We say God all the time to represent the name of the "I AM" in the burning bush. (Well, some people do.) I ask, the name GOD means to you? To the Jew...it is impossible to know exactly who God is because IT is UNKNOWABLE and NAMELESS. To name something is know it...and no man, woman, or child can know God well enough to call it by name. So, the Jews DO NOT name God, they do not call "GOD" "GOD"...hard to say that in English...because English cannot express ideas and emotion like so many other languages do including Hebrew. So, when Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man, He is calling Himself, the Messiah...the One who was prophesized to come in the line of David...the One who told Moses that the One speaking is "I AM" (Exodus 3:14). We have grown accustomed to the phrase "Son of God" which denotes Jesus as Our Saviour as the common title of Jesus. Many will say that the title Son of Man denotes that Jesus was in the flesh and a perfect man. I see the Jewish connection to the phrase as a name with special meaning
among the Jews...the "Son of Man" is the Savior...the Messiah.

Just for reference, the title "Son of Man" is used 43 times in the New Testament and the title "Son of God" is used 37 times in the New Testament.

This term was common in the Old Testament for a human. "Son of man" occurs 93 times in the book of Ezekiel and 106 times in the entire Old Testament. Jesus acknowledges that He is the I AM, the Creator, and is realting to mankind by using the title Son of Man to emphasize that the Son of God lived also as a human man...

Let me now bring this together for you:
To re-frame this thought correctly....Jesus was the "Son of God"...which is the FIRST manifestation of the ALL KNOWING INFINTITE GOD who is nameless...the "Son of God" who IS the Creator of this universe and mankind who came down to this Earth in a tent of flesh as "The Son of Man"...a perfect man because He was 100% the Son of God who lived 100% in the flesh in the form of a man. The name "Son of God" and "Son of Man" IS the title of the Messiah...but when communicating with a Jew, you would call the Savior the "Son of Man".

OK...in that same verse I would like to point out another important statement. Jesus said that "HE WOULD BE HANDED OVER". Handed over? By whom? Here is a thought against those who would call Jesus just a Prophet. Clearly, he foretells in detail future events as a Prophet would. But why use the term "handed over" if Jesus was just a man who was a Prophet? Who handed Him over? The Jews? No, they exchanged Jesus for Barabbas. I ask those who call Jesus a Prophet...Wouldn't a man who was just a prophet save his own life and escape the events that he foretells here? Why know that you will suffer a horrible death and not try to save yourself? Couldn't you save yourself by moving to another country? Why go through all of that pain and know EXACTLY what would happen far in advance?

So, who is handing over Jesus? The answer is: His Father is..."GOD". (I apologize for now using the word "GOD" but the English language does not have any other word or phrase that would suffice!) GOD, the "Father" of Jesus, is HANDING OVER the Son of God, Jesus, as a sacrafice for the world. This is the Will of God, "The Father".

So now we understand a little more why the disciples did not understand Jesus. I am sure that a few of the disciples quietly thought Why must all of these events happen if this is truly the Son of Man standing in front of them?

My opinion is that it would be difficult to question Jesus without sounding faithless and arrogant like Peter can at times. Imagine one of them asking Jesus..."Jesus, My Lord...why must you die...after all you are the Son of God?! Show these people who's boss!". A legitamate question to ask when finding your faith...but even I would probably NOT ask Him this question if I was one of the Disciples and I am know to be quite daring at times.

Moving on in the reading, there is some explaining to do about the verse where Jesus asks some of the disciples what they were arguing about. His question makes them instantly silent which denotes that this "argument" they had between each other was inappropriate because no one said anything at all in response to the Lord asking them a question. So what were the disciples arguing about? I stated earlier that this week's reading is the SECOND out of THREE times the foreshadowing of Jesus' suffering, crucifixion, and ressurection is mentioned in the Gospel of Mark. The THIRD time the disciples are told is in Mark 10:33-37...In that chapter, James and John ask to be seated at the right and left hand side of Jesus' throne. So, with that in mind, it is safe to say that the disciples are arguing among themselves about who the greatest is among them in order to secure their place in heaven.

The Lord just tells you for the second time that He will be betrayed, tortured,
sacraficed and risen...but you want to secure a place in heaven for yourself?? Yes, inappropriate and Our Lord ends this argument with a simple question so that they cease their bickering.

The final part of this weeks reading is an interesting instruction that holds much wisdom. The Lord called the Twelve Disciples and said that the FIRST must be LAST of all and SERVANT. Allow me to switch FIRST with "GREATEST" and LAST with "LEAST GREATEST" and then add the word SERVANT. Those that are FIRST in the Lord's eyes are those who SERVE the LORD and hold the LEAST GREATEST position or status in this world.

So in the world's eyes you are the least popular...but the most popular in the Lord's
eyes as long as you are a SERVANT of the Lord. This is a good time to look up the word servant in the dictionary. A servant is one that serves others AND/OR one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer. The FIRST are those who serve their personal employer...JESUS CHRIST. Now, how do you serve your Lord Jesus Christ? Start by asking Him on a daily basis! Pay attention to what appears in your life and who you may serve in the name of Jesus who is your personal employer.

Recall that the thief next to Jesus Christ on the cross is the last person to realize and have faith in the Lord and is actually the FIRST one in heaven!

The next sentance spoken by Our Lord is when Jesus takes a little child and places the child among them and says: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives not me but the one who sent me". There are a couple of statements I would like to make about this verse. One, is that the anyone who has children or little brothers and sisters knows that their FAITH is unwavering.
A young child has faith in whatever they see and hear and yet holds the least amount of respect in the world. They are thought of as...children and that is it. Children are not taken seriously and their words are utterances of nonsense to many. I personally pay close attention to what little children say and because of the what the Lord has said about them. They are, in a way...a role model for my own personal faith in Jesus because of what the Lord has said as in the reading this week. Young children will not question, argue, debate, lose faith, rebel, or ignore what an "elder" teaches them. It is quite amazing to see their imagination take form and the amount of faith they possess. It is hard to see that in many adults.

But nonetheless...how many church "elders" would ask the opinion of a small child on matters of faith? Not many, becuase children are not thought of as being capable of such "advanced" issues of faith. How do they know anything? This is the same attitude that is shown to people who are not able to give anything back in return. The receiving (acknowledgement or welcome) of a child is just as important as those individuals who are thought of as immature, unworthy, or uneducated.

These people that are to be received and welcomed are the mentally ill, the sick, the uneducated, and anyone else who cannot "make it worth our while" such as the homeless man, or the disabled. All of these people have a tremendous amount of faith to share and many times their faith will exceed those around them. They are to be embraced as the little child who has received the Son of God without question.

Whoever recveives the Son of God without question (which is with FAITH"ing") receives the FATHER of the Son of God. We begin to know God the Father through the Faithing in the Son. Powerful stuff!!

God bless you and your families this week!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chrisitan Persecution in INDONESIA

More persecution from Indonesia...

INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
A pastor and his wife living in Aceh province, Indonesia, have gone into hiding after a Muslim mob set fire to a church building September 1st. Several weeks ago, Pastor Luther Saragih of an Indonesia Evangelical Mission Church congregation, distributed letters to several villages in Aceh inviting Christians to a revival service. A Muslim resident somehow received a copy of the letter and edited it, making it appear that Muslims were invited to the service. More than 500 Christians arrived for the service, along with a large crowd of irate Muslims. Police detained Saragih and scolded him for organizing the service, but another pastor was able to deliver a brief sermon before the event was cut short.

Later that night, a mob of more than 100 men poured gasoline over the building and set it on fire. They also attempted to burn a second building used as a church kindergarten and came looking for Saragih and his wife at their nearby house. The couple escaped to the jungle. Christians in a neighboring province have provided shelter for Saragih and his pregnant wife. Local police and Muslim leaders are reportedly still searching for the couple. Despite this grave resistance, church members have moved their worship services to a local house, as they refuse to buckle under Muslim attacks.

Pray God will keep his faithful servants safe from harm. Pray many of the Muslims who heard the brief sermon will be moved to seek the Lord. Praise God the members of this church are continuing to meet, praising God in the knowledge that He is building His church and the gates of hell can not prevail against it.

John 15:20
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.



Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mark 8:27-35 (Sermon for the week of September 17th)

Mk 8:27-35
Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,“John the Baptist, others Elijah,still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,“But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply,“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,t ake up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”


This week's reading is quite interesting and even a bit odd. It shows how Our Lord teaches those who believe in Him and is quick to correct those who follow when their human thinking gets in the way.

First, Jesus asks His disciples a question about who people think Jesus is. The disciples state that some believe that Jesus is John the Baptist, (most loved, best known candidate for being the Christ in his day), Elijah (who has never died and the Jews know he is to come back one day), or a prophet (the Jews have plenty of prophets who have talked about the coming of Jesus...they can't see that Jesus is the One who the prophets have spoken of).
Today, you have many who just can't believe that Jesus is the Son of God...many call Jesus a Prophet and yet have never read anything about Him that would show that He is just a prophet, and if they have...what makes them think that Jesus is a prophet? How does Jesus qualify as a prophet? Give me one shred of evidence that Jesus is a prophet...or is this the only thing you are allowed to believe? Ahhh...the mind and reasoning of man...Jesus asks his disciples straight out..."Who do you say that I AM?"Peter replied..."the Chirst".

This is what Jesus is...the Messiah! If you don't understand this and how Jesus is the Messiah, then you ARE NOT a Christian. Think what you want, but either Jesus is the Christ...the Messiah...or He is not. Either you are a believer in Jesus CHRIST or you are not. Either you are a Christian or you are not. There is no middle road...you may have created your own faithless comfort zone, but your comfort zone will end when your life ends. Why read the bible and not ask questions? Why read the bible and assume that all of the verses as in this weeks reading are just some twisted lies and Jesus in your mind is a Good and wise teacher, a man, or a prophet. Just in case you missed it...Peter replied, " YOU ARE THE CHRIST". Believe it, or NOT?

If you believe it....why do you believe it? If you don't believe it...why don't you believe it? Have you ever expressed your beliefs to anyone? Have you ever asked a Christian who doesn't hesitate to tell you why they believe Jesus is the Christ? If you ask someone who stumbles on this question, you will stumble with their answers. Have you ever prayed for answers to these questions?

Another interesting statement in this weeks reading is that Jesus clearly foreshadows the event still to come where He is:
1) Rejected by the religious "authorities" living among the Jews
2) Will be killed by mankind
3) Will rise from the dead on the third day

Did He do this? Yes, Yes, and Yes...
Prove it? There is more evidence to these events than the theory of evolution will ever produce, but what proof do you want? Physical evidence? There is evidence...check it out yourself! Not enough for you? What else do you want? Will you ever be satisfied?

Well, maybe you can't believe in a Divine "Son of God" who allows Himself to be killed. Jesus allowed Himself to be killed so that this world and every man, woman, child, demon, and fallen angel owes HIM HIS LIFE BACK. This world and every man, woman, child, demon, and fallen angel, DOES NOT have the power to give back Jesus' life. This is how the Son of God, who lived in a tent of flesh with the name Jesus, is able to grab your soul after your death and grant you eternal life. He knows to grab you because of your faith in Him. This is the meaning of John 3:16. If you don't understand this, you shouldn't be jumping to conclusions in your own beliefs until you ask for understanding and seek the Truth. Your soul is on the line...forget this world and the ridiculously short period of time you will live in flesh! Seek that which is Eternal! What do you have to lose? Is it a fear that you will be believing in a false religion? Well, you first have to know Truth in order to know what is not Truth! Start proving it right starting now! Be able to tell me why Jesus is the Christ and how you are getting into heaven.

So, let's look at the third part of this weeks reading. The reading states that, "Peter rebuked Jesus". Wait a minute! Peter? You mean Peter who just a little while ago was the first one to tell Jesus who he was...the Christ? Indeed! GET BEHIND ME SATAN! For Satan must be involved in such an abrupt turn of faith. One minute you identify Christ and the next your rebuking Christ! What does the word rebuke mean? To rebuke someone is to sharply criticize someone. Peter is sharply criticizing the Son of God? What? What did Peter criticize Jesus the Christ for? My guess is that Peter had a problem with Jesus being the Christ and He really didn't need to die. That's what I think Peter rebuked Jesus for and as the Jesus says: "You are NOT THINKING like God...but like a MAN!"

Doesn't Jesus' reply to Peter fit as a great answer to all of the great "Religious" thinkers who swear that Christianity is just another religion and/or is not the right religion like theirs, or that Jesus is not the Son of God? GET BEHIND ME SATAN! The angels gave the name Satan to Lucifer when he fell for the name Satan means "DECEIVER". Satan was a murderer from the beginning, . . . a liar and the father of lies, Satan IS the deceiver of the whole world. Through him sin and death entered the world but will be defeated and destroyed and thus will serve as an end to sin and death. Don't understand this? Then you shouldn't be jumping to conclusions about what you believe until you can tell me why this staement is true or how you will rest your soul in that this statement is not true.

How about some evidence? I am sure that Satan wouldn't mind to show you why he is a liar or a deceiver...do you REALLY want to know? Believe me, Satan exists and will take you if you belong to him. Maybe you should find out how NOT to be owned by Satan when you die. So, just like Peter, men and women in this world feel the need to "correct" the Messiah. KNOW YOUR PLACE! Let Christ lead you and follow very closely...but don't think you can lead when you are not and never will be the leader!

Your job is the last part of this weeks reading:"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me"

1) In order to come to Christ, you must deny your worldly mind and drop your egotistical theology and beliefs that you have created and seek Him. You won't seek Him if you haven't denied your self and ceased your mindless if's and but's.

2) Your second task is to take up your cross. Yes, you may be crucified in a myriad of ways for your faith because Satan does exist and the majority of people will suddenly dislike you because you are a true Christian. These are the trials of faith and faith in Christ is what allows you to have eternal life. If you are not tested and tried...question your faith! Faith cannot be strengthened by osmosis...you may be tempered in various ways, tested in various ways, tried in various ways, persecuted, confused, and spiritually attacked! (This is a short list...) Jesus was crucified for being the Son of God, you are a man or a woman...what makes you think it will be easy? When you are tested... REJOICE! For eternal life is the reward! You are NOT ALONE. Why dodge the test of faith and live "well" for MAYBE 80 years and miss the opportunity of eternal life? What do you have to lose? The Christ will never give you more than you can handle and you will probably have a happy and fulfilling life...it's just that what you think will make you happy and fulfilled usually isn't the Truth.

3) Your third task is to follow Christ. Open the Bible, read the Bible, ask the questions. Seek His will and you will know how to do his will. Knock and the door will be opened by Him. There is a lot to uncover...time is His...it is never too late to seek Him. You either hear or you don't hear but you have to listen in order to find out if you can hear or not! If you can't hear...ASK HIM TO MAKE YOU HEAR! It may sound simple, and it is...but extremely difficult at times...that is how you get behind Him just like Peter needed to be abruptly rebuked on...let the Leader lead you! The Leader is the Christ and Messiah who came in a tent of flesh and had the name Jesus.

God Bless you and your families this week!

(Sermon by John H.)


Thursday, September 14, 2006



Disturbing facts about this blasphemer's cult:
1) His "followers" call him "daddy" and "papa"
2) He blasphemously claims to be "Jesus Christ -Man"
(So, by throwing in the word "man" he thinks he is safe?)
3) He is 60 years old and had this "epiphany" in 1973
(What took so long to come out of your shell blasphemer?)
4) Jesus entered him...
(What you mean is possessed you...yes, something did!)

Examples of blasphemy that spews out of the mouth of this viper: (His own words!)

1) "Sin no longer exists..."
The Holy Bible states:
Matthew 18:7
"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

2)"God doesn't see you as a sinner..."
The Holy Bible states:
Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

3)"You are a perfect being..."
The Holy Bible states:
Isaiah 59:2
"But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers."
Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

4)"The Devil doesn't exist...he is a made-up Hollywood character..."
The Holy Bible states:
Matthew 4:11
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Matthew 13:39
The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.
Matthew 25:41
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

5. "Prayer is a waste of time..."
The Holy Bible states:
Luke 11:1-4
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

Acts 20:29
"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock."

John 8:44
" You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Christian Persecution in SAUDI ARABIA

More persecution in the lands of Islam...more evil at the hands of men who are foolish beasts...hang in there brothers and sisters!!

(Compass Direct)

Saudi Arabia deported four East African Christians last month after they were detained while leading a prayer service in Jeddah. Arrested on June 9th, the church leaders were beaten and imprisoned for more than a month in torturous conditions. Masai Wendewesen, deported to his native Ethiopia on July 16th, told Compass that the Christians were never formally notified of the charges against them. But according to his Saudi work sponsor, the four had been jailed for "preaching to Muslims, planting churches and gathering ladies and gentlemen together for prayer," the Ethiopian said. The Christians were working in Saudi Arabia as chauffeurs and truck drivers.

Proclaiming Christ to Muslims and building churches are forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where "apostasy" – leaving Islam – is a crime punishable by death. According to an August 25th report from Compass Direct, the four were inundated with questions about Christianity from their fellow prisoners. One prisoner said, "They would wake us up from our bed at night to ask us questions. We didn't think about the pain, we just preached the gospel."

Give praise and glory to our loving Father who used these men in such a powerful way. Pray their sharing will awaken a deep hunger in those who heard them and will bring many into God's Kingdom. Pray for Muslims everywhere, pleading with God to break the chains that bind them to a false god.

John 15:20

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.


Monday, September 11, 2006

The Parable of the Fig Tree (with bibletruthonline commentary)

LUKE 13:6-9 (New KJV)
Bible Truth Online Commentary in BLUE

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man (GOD) had a fig tree (The Jews) planted in his vineyard (The world), and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years (The time of Jesus' ministry) I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree (The Jews) and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year (The Millenium) also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mark 7:31-37 (Sermon for the week of September 10th)

Mk 7:31-37
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” -. that is, “Be opened!” --
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,“He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”


Again, another miracle performed by Our Lord! He heals a deaf man with a speech impediment. Another miracle witnessed by other people that cannot be done by men. Do you know anyone who can heal the deaf? Can you heal the deaf? Can our "advanced" medical science heal the deaf with fingers and spittle? The Word of our Lord Jesus can do this and more.

There are a few interesting points to expound on in this week's reading. First, the area of Sidon (Zidon, Lebanon) Jesus is visiting is a pre-dominantly Gentile area with a Jewish population. It is important to realize that Jesus always does what He says He will do and fulfills the verse "first to the Jew and then the Gentile" (Romans 1:16). Here is one instance when Jesus does indeed visit Gentile areas. It does not matter if the man healed in this reading is Jewish because there is a real possibility that he was a Gentile. Either way, he was healed by Our Lord and it was a miracle. I want you to be open to the possibility that he was a Gentile because it leads into another important reflection about this passage. The fact that this man was physically healed from deafness is a fact...but there are prophetic messages within the physical miracles that Our Lord physically did and the parables He spoke of. A question some people may ask about the healing of this particular deaf man is why Jesus didn't "lay his hands" on the man in the way the Jews did and why did he heal some without ever touching them? Here Jesus places both of his forefingers into the mans ear and places his spit on the man's tongue. Why?

First, we need to cover a fundamental point. What heals the man? Jesus' fingers in the deaf man's ears? Jesus' spit on the tongue of a man who has a speech impediment? Jesus laying his hands in the same ritual that the Jews feel possesses the ability to heal? Or is it the the Word of Jesus that heals? Jesus who is the Creator of all things visible and invisible whom took a tent of flesh some 2,000 years ago speaks and it is done. As He said, "Ephphatha!” it was so, it is so, and it always will be so!

So, why did Jesus stick his fingers in the man's ears and spit on his tongue?
Here is my take on this: The common opinion about the physical act of sticking the fingers in the ear and placing spittle on the tongue is that the Word of Christ is what actually heals the man but Jesus is following some sort of therapeutic or sacred gestures that are part of a process. Well, I totally agree as I said earlier, that the Word of Jesus heals the man but this "mysterious therapeutic process" doesn't make sense and we need to look at the actual physical actions of Our Lord.

Yes, the man was deaf and was healed. And we are deaf. And we are dumb. We have a speech impediment just like this man if we have no faith in the Lord. You may think that you can hear...but without Jesus all you hear is sound and some may hear just very, very faint sounds. What comes out of our mouths if the Lord is not in our lives and we faith"eth" in Him? Nonsense. Nonsense just like a man who is deaf and can't hear what he is actually saying. I believe the Lord is showing us a process...yes...but a physical process of healing that ALL believers must go through. It's not some unknown "therapeutic" process but an actual process symbolized by this deaf man's healing.

See, in order for us to really hear, we must approach the Lord for help. We must come to Him and ask Him to heal us because, well, we are deaf and dumb without Him. The Lord heals us by placing "His fingers" in our ears and cleaning them out by healing our deafness with His Word. Once we can hear, we need to speak with the Spirit. It takes the Lord's healing spittle placed on our dumb tongues to be able to speak Truth. Just like Jesus' Twelve Apostles had moments of deafness and dumbness, so do we. It takes his Word ("Ephphatha!"), His sigh or His breath (which is called the Holy Spirit which is the medium for His word to work through), and our Faith that He is Our Lord and Savior.

The laying of hands is not enough for some of us...we need him to thrust His fingers into our ears sometimes and... well, clear out the ear wax and heal our ear drums that are deaf! We need him to place his own spittle into out mouths because of the utter nonsense we allow ourselves to speak when He is not in the forefront of out thoughts and actions.

One last point. Why did Jesus tell the man not to tell anyone else about it? What would happen today if the Lord came into this world of man and started to heal the deaf? If you were deaf would you go to Jesus because He is your Lord and Savior or because you want your hearing back and after you have it back, you will discern if He is a Good and Wise Teacher, some sort of Prophet, a liar, a magician, God, a really, really good person with some sort of spiritual power, an angel, or the Son of God, YOUR Savior??

Does Jesus' healing and raising of dead promote faith or did the people possess faith in Jesus BEFORE they were healed? Surely, the least you can do if Jesus Christ heals you of a horrible affliction is promote His name and proclaim His Glory! Well, unless He tells you not to. Who are you to question the One who healed you? I don't need an explanation, but I could see people flocking to Jesus just for one thing in Sidon..."Heal me first, and then I MAY believe..."

No, first have faith and He may move a couple of mountains for you...He loves you but you must realize and awaken to this fact first and unplug all of that ear wax in your ears that make you deaf! Ask Him and He will do it.

Isaiah 35:4-10
(REMEMBER Isaiah is Old Testament written way before the Birth of Jesus Christ)
Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there But the redeemed will walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

God Bless you and your families this week!

(Sermon by John H.)


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Words of Wisdom from Comedian / Lawyer Ben Stein

Ben Stein is a fairly well known comedian, but few people know that he is also a lawyer. His ability to make the reader think clearly about the real issue at hand is a skill that this world needs more of, especially within journalism and the mainstream media!

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS SundayMorning Commentary, Sunday, 12/18/05.

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:
I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover ofPeople and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kittylitter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up?

Why are they so important?
I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all aboutTom Cruise's wife. Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. If this is what it means to be no longer young... It's not so bad.

Next confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.

If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.
I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to. In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding Katrina)Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said,"I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?" In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.

I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school . The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he'stalking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. Ithink it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Mark 7:1-8,14-15, 21-23 (Sermon for September 7th)

Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. -.
For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,do not eat without carefully washing their hands,keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. .-
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:This people honors me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me,teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He summoned the crowd again and said to them,“Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;but the things that come out from within are what defile.“From within people, from their hearts,come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,adultery, greed, malice, deceit,licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”


This is a wonderful section of the Gospel in which Our Lord sets the record straight in the world of men. It is astonishing to see acts of man continuing today in the spirit of the Pharisees as it did in Mark's testimony and Jesus rebuked these same mindless acts of man almost 2,000 years ago.

What are these mindless acts?
Acts that are veiled as God's tradition but are acts that are of men that create false faith. Mindless acts just like the one the Pharisees in the reading this week are attempting to "correct" the Lord Jesus who is the One who gave them the Law through Moses, who themselves have twisted into mindless, faithless, traditions.

Wash your hands!

Why do you wash your hands? Well, you wash your hands to cleanse them of germs from the dirt that is on them. We wash our hands as a sign of hygiene and of a sign of cleanliness. Some may say that these Pharisees were not out of line...

The Pharisees were dedicated to keeping the Law in order to please God. That didn't seem to work because the Son of God and Creator of All had to come down here to offer Himself as the only worthy blood sacrifice because of the utter failure of keeping the Law. The Commandment to cleanse hands was given in Exodus 30:18-21 and 40:31. This command was given to priests and priests only. Not any one else. The Pharisees (and legalist religionists that have always existed in this world) take Scripture and twist it into something they feel is truth.

The cleansing of hands was the command given by God FOR PRIESTS.

And with good reason, how can one approach the altar of our Lord with dirty hands? Allow me to point out that this was Old Testament, this was before Jesus, the Son of God came to liberate those who will faith"eth" in Him. So why did the Pharisees try to correct the Lord Jesus because the disciples failed to wash their hands?

The Pharisees over time would interpret Scripture and form "better" commandments...they created "Traditions of the Elders" which were in reality, improvements on God's commandments. They felt that hand washing needed to become ritualistic hand washing and EVERYONE must do it.

There we are...a new and improved commandment! We will wash our way into God's Good Grace! So, here are the Pharisees, who are wiser than God and "improve" on God's obvious shortcomings and chastize this "Good and Wise Teacher" called Jesus, for not teaching his disciples about proper ritualistic handwashing.

These poor souls! How blind can men be to stand before our Lord and say such a thing! Would this situation repeat again if the opportunity arises in the future and we find ourselves in the Lords presence? Surely we would have many arrayed in purple and gold showing us the proper way to approach our Lord! Or would they even know that they are standing before the Lord? Would we know?

Who are the Pharisees in today's world? Well they are still the Pharisees that still exist in title and the larger group of people who are just Hypocrites. These hypocrites externally advertise themselves as followers of the Law and/or followers of Jesus Christ who in fact are just one thing...hypocrites. Just like these Pharisees that Jesus speaks to using the verses from Isaiah.."HYPOCRITES!"...they have forgotten God, are blind to the Lord standing in front of them, and follow their own traditions.

Actually, these hypocrites no longer know where the line is between God's traditions and man's traditions. Traditions are often elevated above God. Do you know what traditions exist in your church and why they are upheld and practised? It is essential to differentiate between man and God!

Know what you do and why you do it!
Know what the Scriptures really say and what it means!

Allow me to give you a kernal of Truth. If washing your hands, obeying the 10 Commandments the best you can, believing that you were really helpful today, believing that you are nice enough to go to heaven, performing all of the Good Works you can, (the list goes on...) was what is required for Salvation, then why did the Son of God have to come down here to offer Himself as a worthy blood covering for the sin of mankind? The legalists take away from the truth about the persecution, suffering, bodily death, and all the trouble our Lord had to endure. They would rather pick and choose the Old Testament Jewish traditions THEY feel are important and for what? Their Church memberships? Money? Ignorance? Foolishness? Is that what causes the twisted interpretations of Scripture in the spirit of the Pharisees? Foolishness?

After all of the miracles Our Lord did in front of these Pharisees...none of that mattered because His disciples didn't wash their hands? The Lords teachings to the Pharisees didn't raise alarm as to who was really standing before them? Why is it that none of these "Pharisees" washed Our Lords hands after performing any one of the numerous miracles He did RIGHT BEFORE THEIR EYES?

Lord knows if I had the opportunity I would rush on my knees to wash His hands and feet and then I would seriously contemplate dumping the water right on the Pharisees!
I would feel compelled to make their clothes dirty just like their minds and their acts are...my acts are dirty...and so are theirs.

Break out of any legalist bondage and hear the Good News of the Gospels brought to you by the One and Only Lord of All! The Law may serve as moral guidelines for some, but in absolutely no way are you capable of pleasing God by obeying the Law! Some traditions are based on Scripture and add a dimension of antiquity to church services but they will not and do not make you righteous in the eyes of God and again will never allow you to obtain Salvation. Is obtaining salvation and eternal life less important than what "feelings" you have about a church? Where are your hearts? What are your acts? How do you act in faith? Who is and what does Jesus mean to you? These questions must be asked and must be known by those who are believers.

The Jews had their chance, the Gentiles did not, and praise the Lord for giving us a way out! HE IS THE WAY! Learn His teachings...learn what FAITHING is and how to do it...learn what makes a work Good in God's eyes...don't follow man....FOLLOW THE ONE AND ONLY LORD WHO CAME TO THIS WORLD WITH THE NAME JESUS!

John 3:11-18

Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.

And just as Moses lifted up 5 the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

For God so loved the world that he gave 7 his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn 8 the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

God Bless you and your families this week.
(Sermon by John H)